View as Webpage

SJB-LOGO-LONG-scaled image

Our Recommended Banned Books

Teach Banned Books

Book bans and challenges have increased exponentially since 2021, and hundreds of books are being taken off shelves and out of classrooms. The majority of banned books are written by and about Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian-American, and LGBTQ+ authors and characters whose stories speak powerful and important truths about history, identity, resilience, and imagination.

In response, many people are hosting banned book readings, giveaways, and displays. To support these efforts, we have created a list of some of our favorite banned books that we recommend featuring for banned book collections.

There are some “top ten” banned books that get a lot of attention and, consequently, increased sales — while others risk going out of print due to the censorship and limited limelight. For this reason, our list does not include many wonderful authors whose books we also recommend. We also list some highly visible, yet problematic titles that we do not recommend.

Fry-Bread-large-300x300 image

Fry Bread

CarterReadstheNewspaper_book-cover-335x300 image

Carter Reads the Newspaper

Milo-295x300 image

Milo's Museum

The-Poet-X-9780062662804 image

The Poet X

When-Stars-Are-Scattered-203x300 image

When Stars Are Scattered

We-Are-Not-Yet-Equal image

We Are Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial Divide

View Banned Books List

Study Book Bans and Representation in the Classroom

DSC_0087 image

Fourth graders in Washington, D.C., studied the importance of representation in books and the book bans that have escalated throughout the United States. They examined their own school library to see which books would be banned in other states and created posters to educate the rest of the school on what they learned. We offer a detailed description of how the 4th grade teaching team organized this timely lesson with the hopes that educators across the country will use a similar activity. Let us know if you do. 

Read Article

Create a Banned Books Pop-Up Display

Banned-Books-SXSW-frame-1024x559 image

The Zinn Education Project (coordinated by Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change) collaborated on an installation and panel on banned books at SXSW in Austin. It was so popular that the Zinn Education Project now offers a guide for anyone to create a Teach Banned Books pop-up display of their own.

The interactive display provides an introduction to the dangers of banned books and efforts to defend the freedom to learn. The guide includes downloadable graphics and instructions. Use all or any selection of the components.

Learn More and Get the Guide

Teach Banned Books Buttons

Wear Teach Banned Books buttons — and share them with your friends — to prompt conversations about the need to actively oppose book bans, teach truthfully, and defend LGBTQ+ rights.

Your donation supports the Zinn Education Project's efforts to provide free people’s history lessons to teach outside the textbook. The buttons are 1.5″ round with a matte finish.

Donate for Buttons

Back-to-School Read-Alouds in Georgia

ZEP-Back-to-School-Read-Alouds-Georgia_1 image

In the face of Georgia’s HB 1084 Protect Students First Act, often referred to as the “divisive concepts” act, many teachers are being told to avoid teaching about race, gender, class, climate change, and other topics.

Fifth grade Georgia teacher, Katie Rinderle, is facing termination for reading My Shadow Is Purple to her students. While she is the first known Georgia public school teacher to receive a termination notice under what is called the “trio of censorship” laws passed in 2022, the law is impacting classrooms around the state. Rinderle is working with her union, the Georgia Association of Educators, to fight this unjust termination.

Georgia teachers, school librarians, and other school staff are invited to read and discuss My Shadow Is Purple or another title from the list provided sometime during the first two weeks of school. Teachers who agree to participate receive a free book. Spread the word and sign up.

Learn More and Sign Up

Rethinking Schools

The summer issue of Rethinking Schools includes a review of Listen by our fellow Brad Manker and an article about teaching with That Flag, one of our favorite books.

We encourage everyone to subscribe to this consistently excellent magazine.  

Read and Subscribe

Shop Indie Bookstores

Teaching for Change staff and board encourage everyone to support indie bookstores and public libraries.

Most of the titles at Social Justice Books are linked to, an indie bookstore platform. When you find a book there, please purchase from the link we provide. A small percentage from sales through these links goes to Teaching for Change to sustain Social Justice Books selection, reviews, outreach, and more.

Social Justice Books Online Bookstore

Make a gift or create your own fundraiser to support Teaching for Change.

Donate to Social Justice Books
CFP_Recert_22 image

Teaching for Change

PO Box 73038

Washington, DC 20056

Social Justice Books: Twitter | Instagram

Teaching for Change: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Zinn Education ProjectTwitter | Facebook | Instagram

D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice: Twitter